About this time of year we always embark on a prolonged period of tasting samples of new house wines for our trade customers. This is very much the sharp end of the market because although the prices are low, the volumes are high and it is vitally important we get it right. This applies to price, presentation, quality and availability; the decisions made now will have to be lived with throughout the busy months ahead. Last week it was entry level Aussie wines, our recent success with Auction House looked to have been a good call with these light fruity wines showing good balance. A
newcomer called McPeterson (Chardonnay and Shiraz) looks good as well.
This week we got stuck into some French and Spanish samples, this was a big tasting and quality was very variable; good to see the good old paint stripper factory is still churning it out! At this level Spain trounced France. The new "way" for France comes under the banner of “Vin de France”, a generic classification which seems to allow anything to be bottled in the name of consistency but at the cost of any sense of belonging – just euro-plonk. In contrast, the Spaniards, from such regions as Navarra, Carinena and (even!) Valencia, while still up and down, showed real character and named specified grape varieties. Three wines from Carinena bottled under the smart Amalia label proved to be the stars of the day so keep an eye out for them.